Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ocean of Goodness and Love

It's one of those days where I have zero clue as to the actual day. I was swearing to my husband that it was Monday, which gave him one of those please-let-her-be-wrong-it-couldn't-possibly-be-Monday looks. Fortunately, I was wrong. But, gee-whiz, if that's any sign that I/we could use a break I don't know what is!

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
-Blessed Mother Teresa

With late work nights, scattered with holidays, and life responsibilities, I feel like my head is just above water. Peeking out. Trying to find land. I know it's there. Just a few more strokes till my feet can touch the ground so that I can find my bearings and hopefully trudge my way to dry land. It's there. Dry land. Sunshine. Salty breezes. And, warmth.

The soft sand that squishes beneath your toes. The landing place that lets you sit back and enjoy the sounds of the ocean instead of forcing yourself to fight the current. Where you can just enjoy the salty air. Breathe it in. Feel it on your skin. Enjoy.

I know it's there. But, when you're out, treading past wave after wave, it's hard to really know. All you see is the next wave coming your way. You pray that you can get over this next one - just this next one. Because that's the only energy you can muster up for that moment. Enough energy for the next one.

And, sometimes that's okay. Sometimes that's just the season. We've been up to our ears in that season these last few weeks, but thankfully, the water is getting to a place of calm. And, thankfully I can swim. Even if it looks rough. Even if it's not entirely efficient. I'm just thankful I can tread. Thankful.

Long work hours are tough days/weeks/months for everyone. Limits get tested both physically and mentally. Throw a teething baby into the mix - the one who likes to arch his back and not be consoled - and you have a mix for the potential to drown.

But, I'm not drowning. I'm not going to drown. Grace abounds. And, this is good.

Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be canceled and anxiety turned into love.
-St. Paul of the Cross
The passion of Jesus is a sea of sorrows, but it is also an ocean of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this ocean. Dive into its depths. No matter how deep you go, you will never reach the bottom.
St. Paul of the Cross
The words of the saints hold me during these times. They remind me that every little bit counts and the fact that I am treading water is okay. They remind me that even though my little ocean exhausts me from time to time, I am forever thankful for every part of it.  The two toddlers and wonderful husband make up my little ocean of goodness. It's the same ocean where His Love can always be found whether it be on the sandy beach or deep in the crashing waves.

Every time I respond with love and tenderness, His Goodness and Love meets my children and husband. The saints remind me that His Love abounds and somehow my failings can be transformed with His Grace. They remind me that I've been taught to love and therefore am capable to share it - daily and to the best of my sleepy-mama ability.

As much as I struggle, I know I love them with all that I am. And, because of that truth I know that at the end of my days I have erred on the side of Love as much as my little mama self can. So, the challenge for me is to find Him and His Love in my crashing waves and in the sunshine. To know that this is a season. That it will pass. And, with His Grace, embrace the ups and downs of my vocation with joy.

The saints are always so great about encouraging perspective in me that calms my soul during these tough times. What brings you to a place of peace during the crazy that inevitably ensues with littles under your roof?

Friday, May 23, 2014

7QT: Two weeks in the making!

Well, here I am on a Friday night sitting on my couch. The pup snuggled up to me, my youngest sleeping, and I'm pretty sure my oldest is asleep even though my husband is not out here with me. This little truth can only mean that dada has fallen asleep with the toddler. It's sweet. And, indicative of how our week has been. 

My husband has had a deadline approaching. The deadline that was this past Wednesday has carried on to today because sometimes, things just come up. As much as I love his work and love him for doing it and love even moreso that he really enjoys the work he does, deadline hours can be tough.

--- 2 ---
Haha. He just walked out with the yes-I-fell-asleep face.

Fair enough. I know he's tired. We're both tired. This deadline really wore us both out this time around. But, with lots of grace and prayers, I'm so glad we've made it through. The boys did so well on the really late nights. They did well during the day while playing outside. They even did well by not completely wrecking the house while inside.

I'd say that's a major win. Major.

Ok, so I tried posting this last Friday. The crazy just kept on being crazy. Amidst crazy, blogging was left on the shelf. I kept walking past it wanting to engage so many times, but time and the children were just not having it. So, these quicktakes are being finished a week later, because that's just what crazy does to my blog.


Where were we? Ah yes, major wins.

You know what else is a major win? I have two dear friends who just had babies. Sweet, soft, and wrinkled cuties! Both mamas did amazing throughout labor and delivery and I could not be more happy for their beautiful families.

So, if you all would join me in praying for Jorja and Katey, their families, and their sweet new bundles of joy, that'd be great! Pray that these next few months of great joys and painful exhaustion be filled with grace. The kind of grace that makes them feel held throughout the night while they are holding their newest gifts from Above.

And, if you could pray for Courtney, Adrienne, and Jess, who are all hoping to deliver within a months time.

Thank you!

We also have more babies that are getting ready to meet this world, which I love! I love seeing how these beautiful mothers embrace their vocation and dignity with such grace and prayer. It's encouraging. Uplifting. Hopeful. Exciting. And, I'm thankful.

Speaking of new mamas. Do you all ever use CareCalendar? It's such a great way to help a family out once their new little bundle decides to join the party. It's a free online calendar that helps friends of families with new littles plan to bring them meals and to meet the newest addition. You just go online to your friends calender and schedule a time to bring them a meal based on their need.

I had never heard of this till my first. A friend of mine made a calendar for me, and because I ended up having a cesarean and did not freeze meals in advance, I was so incredibly grateful and definitely in need of that extra help. As much as the food was so very helpful to our family, I think I loved getting to see my friends most and letting them meet our boys (I had another calendar for when Linus was born). In that I had cesareans, I'm technically not supposed to drive for 6-8 weeks (I don't remember exactly). Either way, it's nice that friends come to me since I can't come to them.

So, if you have any expecting mamas you should definitely check out this little website. It is such a blessing!

Haha, okay, we have had another intermission. Do quicktakes have intermissions? Anyways, I'm hoping to finish these and get them linked up!

ONWARD, once more!

I'm sleepy. Ha! Yes, the craziness has me talking about sleep, again. That's just how it is, right? When things get crazy busy all you think about is sleep. Especially when the littles aren't sleeping which means you really really aren't sleeping.

Linus decided that he has zero pain tolerance and the poor baby is cutting some incisors as well as his molars. I see them. There. Under his gummy skin and just looking at them makes me sleepy. Because after the 3.5 hour cry party he pulled two nights ago, my eyes can't help but anticipate increased depth in the dark circles beneath.

I'm happy to report we survived the night. The next morning, I got Linus to the doctor to say my son is crazy and cries like nothing I knew possible, for the doctor to check him and look at me with the I'm-so-sorry-but-I-think-it's-*just*-teething face

On the one hand, I'm so glad that nothing is wrong. On the other hand, I'm like, come onnn Linus, surely you can tolerate pain a smidge better than that insane display in the middle of the night, last night???


And, since we're on the topic of selfish me and my obsession with sleep while I'm sleep-deprived caring for my beautiful babies, Bigfoot caught a virus.

What??? Really?

When do these things happen? Poor baby has had fever since yesterday and isn't shaking it. He hasn't been much for food and has been a little on the low energy side.

I'm not sure how providence decided all this would be a good idea. But, here we are. Husband still pulling late hours. Both boys struggling in one way or another. And, then there's me. Trying to keep it together.

By the grace of God, I am holding it together. By the sweetest grace of God. And, His Angels. And, prayers from those Above and present. There have been lots of prayers. And, Mama Mary. Sweetest of sweet, Mamas. Her precious prayers have been holding me, I know.

Also, this song has been helpful.

And, I'm grateful.

--- 7 ---
Now, I'm here. I made it to quick-take numero 7! Thank goodness. It only took two whole weeks! It's Friday, my parents just drove in for the weekend (*insert happy heart dance*), my husband is home and resting, both boys are presently napping (neither have fever anymore and I'm praying it stays that way!), and I'm here, sitting, snacking, and sharing.

Sweet times are just around the corner and I'm excited. I love having family in town and this is the first time my dad has seen our new home. The boys are excited. We are excited! We're hoping for no viruses, some pool time, play time, lots and lots of family time, relaxation, smiles, laughter, hugs, and goodness.

I'll leave you with some fun pictures I caught the other day at the park.

Thanks for stopping by!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

{PHFR} Love the love

You know when you see family after not seeing them for awhile - you look at them and feel loved. Hugs and kisses are had and the beauty of love just takes over the moment.

We have that. And, it's amazing.

Uncle A and his ...wait for it... FIANCE! came to visit for the weekend and lots of love and fun was had. We're so grateful for any time we get to spend with them. We love them both so much and our boys just light up when they see them. It's great. It's a gift. It's kind of beautiful.

Fun was had while we were at home and also when we went to our favorite local brewery. Thankfully I was able to snap a few shots to capture some sweet memories.

These two are pretty and so is the love they have for each other. We're so excited that they are engaged to marry and can't wait to celebrate!
And, selfishly, I'm excited for another sister-in-law! Rebekah is beautiful inside and out (A little cheesy, but true!). Her soul is sweet and filled with love for Uncle A and her family and I'll soon be able to call her sister! 

Another pretty moment is Bigfoot giving me a flower. Like I mentioned before he's been giving me these more often and I am loving it!
He'll go on a little hunt when we're outside and find random little flowers for me. It's the sweetest!
His little hand is pretty sweet too. Love everything about them.

Bigfoot is happiest when swinging.
We swing everyday, and often.
Just look at his face!
And, having Uncle A and Rebekah to swing with just added to his joy.
It's the little things.
Speaking of little, Linus likes a good swing too. Not as much as his older brother, but he's definitely a fan.

Also happy, was going to our favorite brewery to share good beer and conversation with family.
This guy is always happy when there's good beer to be had. And, even happier when he gets to share good beer with family.

Haha, I thought Uncle A looked funny in this picture. Love you, Aaron!
He also that it'd be fun to encourage our little guy to be a T-sip for a few moments.
At least, until my little Aggie decided it was bad bull to do anything Longhorn related. 
And, I kind of love all things about the picture below. Something about it makes me want to snicker, but it also pulls on my heart strings. Either way, I love it and filed it under funny.

Like I said before, lots of love was had. 
You can just see it in the faces.
The bonds grow with each encounter and it's wonderful.
My boys love their Uncle A and Rebekah so much.
And, I love seeing the love Uncle A and Rebekah have for them. It really warms my mama heart.
I love this little boy, and his sweet eyes.
All the things that good weekends are made of were had. And, we're grateful.
Also, glad we were able to have another fun time at one of our favorite breweries. Thank you, Lakewood!
And, thank you Uncle A and Rebekah for spending the weekend with us! We love you all more than you'll ever know and are so very excited for you both! Prayers during this beautiful time!

round button chicken

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Answer Me This: Rough Weeks

With a deadline behind us and a 24-hour programming work party before us, rough weeks have been had and there's still a little roughness to come. Amazingly, even though the hours have been long and exhausting, I can definitely say that His Grace has brought me through the craze fairly unharmed. Tired? Yes. Exhausted, physically and somewhat mentally? Yes. Sore from all the baby carrying and putting the both boys, two and under down for naps and bedtime? Yes. Desperately seeking a way to carve out just 30 measly minutes of uninterrupted time so I can sip warm coffee, or blog, or, or, or...? Yes.

Thankfully, I think I have that smidge of time I've been seeking! (So, I'm technically blogging away during a miracle. An actual miracle. This is my golden unicorn, folks. Time. Quiet time. To sit, think, reflect, and share. Welcome to my unicorn!)

So, for today, I will be doing another round of Answer Me This with Kendra at Catholic All Year. She is on a European trip with her beautiful family (Kendra, I'm pretty sure Scott Hahn is on a similar trip. If you don't follow him on Facebook, you should check it out! You were both posting photos of Lourdes at the same time!). How amazing is that? Europe with your family!?! Maybe one day we'll be able to do something similar. It would be a dream come true!

1. What's the scariest thing that's ever been in your yard?
What about in your home? We lived in an apartment prior to buying our new home and had an absolutely awful experience with bees! And a wasp. These were two separate experiences but I'm terrified of both. 

The bee situation was all kinds of AWFUL! There were bees coming from somewhere in the wall in our master bedroom. The same room where the baby boy would typically sleep. And us, of course. They came out during the day and completely randomly. And, while I know bees are kind of a big deal right now and we should take care of them etc etc etc But you can bet I was knocking them dead as soon as I could. Is that awful? Honestly, I have only a tiny bit of remorse. Bees do not belong in doors. Ever. And, these were. Somehow. 

Strangely, we never discovered the source and after a couple dozen random bee sightings, they were no more. If there was a hive in the wall somewhere, I hope the apartment figures it out. We had a number of people come out to check things out, but nothing was ever done. I'm just glad we came out of unharmed. 

The black wasp incident was something from my nightmares. Somehow this little beast made its way inside. I say beast because it was so terrible. It charged! and Charged! And Charged at me! or the dog! Or anything that moved. And, as many times I tried to kill it after being charged, it would. not. die! It was quick and clever and would hide out after a charge only to go at us again. 

I made my husband come home from work because I was on the brink of a major panicky breakdown. So, my knight did what all knights do. He came home and rescued us by slaying the beast. 

I don't do things that buzz. They freak me out. 

2. Beards. Thumbs up or thumbs down?
THUMBS UP! I love my husband with a beard, scruff, or shadow. I love it so much he has rarely had a day or time since we married that he has had a clean shave. Mind you, I love his clean shaven face as well, but his face unshaven is what sexy is made of.

Thank you love for always appeasing me in this department. Muah!

3. If stuff breaks, can you fix it?
Hm. I'd like to think I could figure it out. Or at least google it and let google do the figuring while I do the do-ing. But, I really haven't been faced with much to fix. Having lived in an apartment for most my adult life, I've never really needed to.

Only time will tell with this question, now that we are in our home.

4. What was your first car?
My first car was a 1980 MGB. It was my parent's wedding gift to..each other? I think. Either way it was what they got on their wedding day and saved it. 1980 was the last year these fun little cars were made and I always loved it growing up! The picture below is something I found online. Ours was a chocolate brown until I started driving it. My dad painted it a nice blue. 
I was determined to learn to drive stick, which I did, just so I could drive it once I was of age. I loved driving that little car even though the AC didn't really work and it would sometimes die on me. I have the most fond memories of that car and I am forever grateful to my parents for sharing with me such a neat vehicle that carries so many memories for them. My parents still take the MG out for cruises on nice evenings. Cute, aren't they? Love y'all!

5. How often do you eat out?
We try to keep eating out to once a week, but lately, with the late hours and crazy, it's been more than either of us care for (2-3X/week). Oye!

We're all feeling a bit sluggish for it too! And, the toddlers have turned into walking french fries. 

6. Why is your hair like that?
I'm currently growing it out again. Normally, I love having my hair long. But, after having babies, those pesky post-partum hormones that cause shedding till I feel I may go bald are just not fun. So, post-babies the new thing is to cut the length for an uber short and easy do and donate it to Locks of Love.

I've never dyed my hair ever. And, never intend to do so, no matter how much my best friend thinks I should (Sorry, Laura!). The upkeep is way more than I would care for, and the expense is just something I could never justify. Anyways, I'm a food-person, so I'd rather go out and have as many margaritas than spend it on hair product.

Also, my husband loves me and thinks I'm sexy and all that other good stuff, so me au-naturel is what he's going to continue getting!

Thanks for the fun, Kendra! Prayers for the rest of your family trip and travels!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Be a Mother to me now.

Happy Mother's Day, to all you mamas out there, both physical and spiritual! Pray that your day is filled with lots of love and joy!

Joining another round of Answer Me This! Enjoy!

1. What's for dinner?
Sushi! Hopefully. For Mother's Day it's my pick since I'm the mama in this household. My pick usually is a fun brunch place or sushi! Hoping it's sushi, today!

Since having the boys we don't get out to sushi as often as my tastebuds would like, so it seems we've started going on special occasions. Something I am happy about and will take! Special occasion sushi is way better than no sushi.

Ok, just got back from dinner and we did not end up at my new favorite sushi place. Instead we went to an incredibly yummy burger place. So glad my husband reminded me I've been wanting a burger! This place came recommended by friends and it definitely lived up to it's reputation. It's called Shady's and has a fun open/outside set up to it. I had a burger with grilled onion and jalepeno, swiss cheese and fries. All that goodness was topped off with a perfectly made margarita. Good times were had, friends! And, I'm thankful!

2. What's the last thing you borrowed from someone?
Hm. I have to think about this one.

Ah, yes! I recently borrowed a garlic mincer from a friend who came over for dinner. We were hosting them for a fun Saturday evening dinner and seeing how I only recently discovered the magic and glory of a mincer but have yet to buy my own, asked if she would bring hers over.

Speaking of which, I need to get it back to her!

3. What is your favorite prayer?
Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.

It's a simple prayer that I hold dear to my heart. Ever since becoming a mama I pray these words during the tough days and the good days. It's comforting to know that the Mother of Our Lord is praying for me. I know she brings me to her Son when I call on her. And, I know she knows what to say to Him better than I ever could in the mama prayer department. Especially when I'm having one of those challenging mama days.

The prayer is one that I know Blessed Mother Theresa would encourage those she spoke with to pray. I met with the Sisters of Charity while I was in DC and one of the cards that Sister Theresa gave me had these words printed on the back (Not Blessed Mother Teresa, but a Sister that knew her and worked with her for awhile in India before moving to DC.). Special and beautiful and all things lovely.

4. What is the oldest thing in your house?
Does the house itself count? It was built in 1967. And, I honestly don't think we own anything that was made or purchased prior to that. I do have a ring-holder that was my maternal-grandmother's but I'm not sure how old it is. I also have a tray that belonged to her.

So, the answer to this question lies somewhere a midst the three things I just mentioned. Unless I'm completely missing something that's really old, but either way it's not on my radar right now, so I'm sticking to somewhere in the three mentioned.

5. What's the best concert you ever attended?
I've never been one for concerts. I did go to a Lifehouse concert while in graduate school that was standing room only in a warehouse type venue. That was fun. Aside from that, I'm a huge fan of anything jazzy, comfy, and cozy. Take me to a Jazz bar or restaurant with some good jazzy classics and I am one happy woman.

6. Do you have a nickname?
Never been one to be called anything other than Amanda for the most part. I suppose some people call me Manda, but I don't think that counts. I'm definitely not a Mandy nor have I ever been.

When I was little my mom, dad, and brother would call me Nana. My brother had trouble saying my whole name and so Nana it was. They still call me that every once in awhile, but once he started saying my whole name, that's what it was - Amanda.

The only other nickname that I would say stuck with one side of my family is Manny. I had an aunt that would babysit me often when younger and she would call me Manny. She still does to this day and so do some of my cousins and aunts on that side of my family. But, the nickname never escaped that side of my family.


That's all for Answer Me This with Kendra at Catholic All Year. Thanks for the fun content to blog about, Kendra! 

Also, tagging on What I Wore last Sunday. I got a picture but never got around to posting it. So, this will be me linking-up this week with what I wore last week for Mass. As well as a couple random photos of the boys at a park downtown. Random and fun times were had. 
Jewelry: James Avery
Cardi: Target
Dress: Online (can't remember the name)
Shoes: Nine West
All you amazing selfie takers for WIWS need to teach me your ways. I have no idea what I'm doing and would love some tips!!
Love him in this picture. Is it just me or is it so incredibly hard to get face forward pictures of toddlers??
Mr. Serious Linus on the Merry-Go-Round. He was a fan. But, I think he was more a fan of holding onto the ball he brought.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Going to leave you with a favorite quote from G.K. Chesterton on motherhood that the lovely Sarah also shared today.

How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe?
How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? 
No. A woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.

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